The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Issue 195’

TPR Gets Two Ellie Nods

April 5, 2011 | by

The Paris Review has been nominated for two National Magazine Awards: general excellence in a literary magazine, for our summer, fall, and winter issues and best essay or criticism for “Mister Lytle: An Essay,” by our Southern editor, John Jeremiah Sullivan. Awards will be presented on May 9. In the meantime, we have made the entirety of Sullivan’s essay available online:

When I was twenty years old, I became a kind of apprentice to a man named Andrew Lytle, whom pretty much no one apart from his negligibly less ancient sister, Polly, had addressed except as Mister Lytle in at least a decade. She called him Brother. Or Brutha—I don’t suppose either of them had ever voiced a terminal r. His two grown daughters did call him Daddy. Certainly I never felt even the most obscure impulse to call him Andrew, or “old man,” or any other familiarism, though he frequently gave me to know it would be all right if I were to call him mon vieux. He, for his part, called me boy, and beloved, and once, in a letter, “Breath of My Nostrils.” He was about to turn ninety-two when I moved into his basement, and he had not yet quite reached ninety-three when they buried him the next winter, in a coffin I had helped to make—a cedar coffin, because it would smell good, he said. I wasn’t that helpful. I sat up a couple of nights in a freezing, starkly lit workshop rubbing beeswax into the boards. The other, older men—we were four altogether—absorbedly sawed and planed. They chiseled dovetail joints. My experience in woodworking hadn’t gone past feeding planks through a band saw for shop class, and there’d be no time to redo anything I might botch, so I followed instructions and with rags cut from an undershirt worked coats of wax into the cedar until its ashen whorls glowed purple, as if with remembered life.

Congratulations and thanks to all!


Maureen McLane on “That Man,” “Genoa,” and “Aviary”

January 19, 2011 | by

The winter issue of The Paris Review includes three poems by Maureen McLane. McLane has published two books of poetry, Same Life (2008) and World Enough (2010), along with several studies of British Romanticism. She teaches at New York University and lives in Manhattan.

You wrote about poetry as a critic and scholar for several years before you published your first collection. Were you writing poems all the while?

Yes! in a boom-and-bust way—which is the way I was living as well. I’d been writing poems since college, in several modes, feeling my way into and out of different, mainly lyric idioms. I was interested, too, in something like a poetics of not-communicating, or of not-prematurely-communicating. By the mid-’90s, I had completed a manuscript, most of which precedes and is distinct from Same Life, my first published book; a friend thinks I should publish that first manuscript as “Almost Lost.”

What changed between the unpublished work and the poems of Same Life?

Same Life encompasses twelve years of poems, some of which overlap, in time and preoccupation and style, with the first manuscript. So there is some continuity: an interest in lyric sequences, for example. I think one shift was an increasing openness to, even an insistence on, a range and simultaneity of commitments—to erotic lyric but also invective, to compression but also expansion in some essayistic poems like “Excursion Susan Sontag.” I think, too, that by the time I put Same Life together, I had gotten some mythic-mindedness out of my system. And in the mid-2000s, a couple of artist’s residencies allowed me to focus even more intently on my work; that was an enormous boon, for which I am hugely grateful. Another not-unrelated fact: My life situation changed a lot in the ’90s, including the end of my marriage, and certain energies were probably released into what became Same Life.

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Franzentime, Christmastime

December 17, 2010 | by

When Jonathan Franzen appeared on Oprah last week, we were inspired to do a video mash-up of her show. After all, we have our own interview with Franzen in the latest issue. Here's what I put together these last few days. Enjoy, and consider picking up a copy of our winter issue:


Alexandra Kleeman on “Fairy Tale”

December 16, 2010 | by

The winter issue of The Paris Review opens with debut fiction by Alexandra Kleeman, a young writer, part Taiwanese, who was raised in Japan and Colorado. She recently left behind her graduate studies in rhetoric at the University of California at Berkeley, where she planned a dissertation on cognitive science and experimental poetics. She lives now on the west side of Manhattan and is pursuing an M.F.A. at Columbia University.

“Fairy Tale” is your first story to be published. Is it your best story?

It’s probably my favorite story. I was trying to be funny and I’m naturally very serious. I hope it’s kind of funny.

What makes it a fairy tale?

My original title was “Knives,” which seems very different, but the logic of the piece always had that sort of fairy-tale element to it: There’s a sense in which the world depicted is, on one hand, very tight and claustrophobic, but on the other hand extremely open, like anything could appear in it anytime. It would be a completely irrelevant question, in that setting, whether something was believable or not. Instead, you’re actively learning the rules along with the character. That’s the way the later part feels, to me, anyway, but really the first part is strongly amnesic.

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Claire Vaye Watkins on “Gold Mine”

December 14, 2010 | by

Claire Vaye Watkins was born in Nevada and lives in Ohio, where she is putting the finishing touches on a debut collection of stories that all unfold in her home state, from down south in Nye County and Las Vegas, to Reno, Lake Tahoe, Virginia City, and the Blackrock Desert, the site of Burning Man. “Gold Mine,” which appears in our new issue, takes place entirely at a Nevada brothel.

What brought you to the bunny ranch as a setting?

I grew up Pahrump, Nevada, where prostitution is legal. There were two brothels near my house and the school bus used to drive past them every morning. As a girl I was especially fascinated by one, the Chicken Ranch, because it was done in this ornate dollhouse Victorian style, which I’d never seen before, with dormers and flower boxes and painted in lovely pastel pinks and blues. I wanted to live there.

Of course, as I got older my relationship to those buildings became more complicated, let’s say. But a part of me has always been enchanted by them. There’s something magical about a brothel. It’s this alluring Eden compound in the middle of nowhere, even if it’s also grotesque and exploitative and dangerous.

For a story about a brothel, it is remarkably chaste; the only sex act depicted is between the gay madam and his married male mentor.

You’re right, there’s a lot of dirty talk but not much business. Does that make me a tease? I suppose I was more interested in the emotional bonds between the characters—Manny and Joe, Manny and Michele, Michele and Darla, Darla and Manny—because in this world that’s the stuff that can really get you into trouble. I don’t find the sex part of prostitution that interesting. (Such a tease line.) It’s the emotion work that gets me. As I see it, sex isn’t the real currency at the Cherry Patch Ranch—it’s affection and intimacy. And everybody’s looking for it.

I’d originally written this story without the affair between Manny and Joe, but Manny felt entirely too stable. We couldn’t see what Michele meant to him. I needed something to knock him off kilter, to make him more vulnerable, more lonesome, hornier. So I broke his heart.

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Introducing the Winter Issue

December 6, 2010 | by

Jonathan Franzen has just given the deepest, most searching and revealing interview of his career. And we don’t mean on Oprah. You won’t find this interview on TV, on YouTube, or anywhere else on the Web.

You can only find it in the winter issue of The Paris Review, alongside a startling portfolio, curated by David Salle, of paintings by Amy Sillman and Tom McGrath; a selection of portraits and landscapes by legendary draughtsman Saul Steinberg; and a troubling, sexually charged novella by Hungarian master Péter Nádas.

Issue 195, which will hit newsstands December 15, also includes a Writers at Work interview with novelist Louise Erdrich, poems by Brian Blanchfield and Jim Moore, debut fiction by Alexandra Kleeman and Claire Vaye Watkins, and much, much more.

Order your copy today—or click here for our holiday gift offer and consider Christmas solved. Happy holidays!